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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Matt Crafton
C.J. Radune notes that Zane Smith will line up eighth Saturday, which could be a springboard to a top-10 finish.
John Hunter Nemechek won the spring race in Las Vegas and should continue to show his dominance with only four races left in the season.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
Crafton turned in his best performance of last season at Homestead and it was good enough for the veteran driver to capture his third-career truck series championship. For the most part, the 2019 campaign was a low-profile affair for Crafton. He logged seven Top-5 and 18 Top-10 finishes, and wasn't really a major threat to win any events. He had a nine-season low of just 44 laps led for the entire season. The 43-year-old enters his 20th season at ThorSport Racing. He's as dependable as a clock at this point in his career. Crafton is no longer the threat to win races like he did three or four seasons ago, but he can pile up the Top 10's. We should see more of the same in the upcoming season.
The 18-season veteran has become the truck series' elder statesman. At 42-years-old Crafton is one of the oldest driver's in the series. Unfortunately, we've begun to see some performance and skill deterioration in the two-time champion. Crafton labored through his toughest season since 2012 last year. He went winless for the first time in six years, and his Top-10 total of 13 was his lowest since 2011. Crafton's 69 laps led were also his lowest total in a number of years, and illustrates how tough the 2018 season was for the No. 88 team. We expect Crafton to be back with this race team in 2019, but don't expect in major rebounds in performance. It seems that some of the younger talents in this racing series have caught and passed Crafton in the last two years.
ThorSport makes the shift from long-time Toyota team to Ford in 2018. That's a wrinkle to keep in mind going into the season, but in the big picture Crafton and this team bring the experience and skill to mount a serious threat for the championship. The veteran driver is a 14-time winner in this division of NASCAR and a two-time champion. Crafton's one-win and 16 Top-10 campaign of last season earned him a fourth-place finish in the standings. He should hold the line on those numbers and possibly even improve with the shakeup of talent and new, younger faces entering this racing series. Crafton is just two seasons removed from a six-win campaign and title. It's that homerun potential he brings to the plate in the upcoming season.
The two-time series champion lost out in a winner-take-all finale with former teammate, Johnny Sauter, at Homestead last season. Even though Crafton didn't win the title, he still had a tremendous season and one that is in line with his recent level of performance. The veteran Toyota driver claimed two wins early last season, but cooled off as the season progressed. Crafton still forged a 16 Top-10 campaign and that was good enough to advance into the final race of the Chase. He's been a Top-3 finisher in the driver standings for the last four consecutive seasons, and we don't see that changing in 2017. In fact, if there is any driver best-equipped and positioned to overtake Sauter in the quest for the championship, it's Crafton.
The two-time series champion came up short in his quest to win three titles in a row last year. Crafton would posts career-highs in wins with six and Top-5 finishes with 13, but still not claim the crown. That in no way tarnishes what the ThorSport Racing star has accomplished the last three years. He’s averaged three victories and 18 Top-10 finishes over that span and been the top driver in the Camping World Truck Series. We don’t see that changing in 2016. In fact, with this division of NASCAR getting younger, it likely elevates Crafton more than ever. His 361 starts of experience, and the strong No. 88 team make him king of the mountain this season, and top contender to win the championship.
Much like his teammate Johnny Sauter, Crafton too endured some consistency issues in 2012. The No. 88 Toyota team is usually a Top-10 go-getter each season, and struggles with the victory side of the equation. That was not the case last year. Crafton was largely invisible in claiming 14 Top-10 finishes, which is far short of the 18-20 we’re used to seeing from this driver and team. While Crafton finished a respectable sixth in the final championship standings, his average finish rose to 9.8 which is well above what we’re used to seeing. The ThorSport Racing star’s team returns intact from last season, with Carl Joiner still calling the shots from atop the pit box. We expect to see a return to consistency for Crafton in 2013.
More Fantasy News
Runner-up Finish at Gateway
Crafton finished second in the Toyota 200 presented by CK Power NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway Friday night.
Runner-up Finish at Richmond
Crafton finished second in the Toyota Care 250 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Richmond Raceway Thursday night.
Runner-up Finish at Dover
Crafton finished second in the KDI Office Technology 200 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway Friday afternoon.
Wins the E.P.T. 200
Crafton won the E.P.T. 200 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway Saturday afternoon.
Third in Vankor 250
Crafton finished third in the Vankor 250 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night.